League phase: what a finish!

The most heartening featureof this IPL has been the contributions made by the uncapped players such as Akshar Patel (Kings X1 Punjab).-The most heartening featureof this IPL has been the contributions made by the uncapped players such as Akshar Patel (Kings X1 Punjab).

When the IPL came back to India in early May, it appeared that some teams had put themselves in a precarious position in as much as some were well placed. I had written around that time the competition could see a lot of twists and turns in the latter stages.

As the IPL auction was petering out to an end, the general consensus was that the available talent was evenly spread out and hence the 7th edition was likely to be a very interesting and closely fought one. It was proved to be right as the interest was very much alive until the last game in the league phase.

How much more interesting can any competition be? Several possibilities lingered as the league entered into the final week but what transpired on the last two nights was beyond imagination. The blitzkrieg from Yusuf Pathan enabled KKR to usurp the No. 2 position from CSK. If that was deemed a one off innings, Corey Anderson went one better to annihilate the RR attack to engineer a daring jailbreak and in the process take MI into the top four.

When the IPL came back to India in early May, it appeared that some teams had put themselves in a precarious position in as much as some were well placed. I had written around that time the competition could see a lot of twists and turns in the latter stages. As it turned out, KKR and MI picked up the momentum at just about the right time to upstage the well placed teams. While the cynics may have their take, it has to be said that the IPL is all about the emotional highs and lows, and as such it is imperative for all involved to remain calm.

Of course, there is always a certain amount of tension involved as well but most importantly, a spark is needed at the right time for the teams to raise the bar. I can say with enough conviction that the catch by Chris Lynn was one effort that provided the spark.

His catch not only gave KKR an unexpected victory but it also made a straightforward statement — hang in there long enough, things will happen. Though KKR lost a few games after that, they hung in there collectively to effect a sensational turnaround. Who knows what would have happened if KKR were to lose that game against RCB?

The excitement till the last game notwithstanding, the most heartening feature of this IPL has been the contributions made by the uncapped players. The decision to include them in the auction (though done a bit late) has been justified. The likes of Akshar Patel, Karun Nair, Rishi Dhawan to name a few have benefitted immensely even as they made an impact for their teams. The other highlight of the tournament is the decisive role played by the leg spinners on tracks that have been firm and devoid of help.

The surge of leg spinners is delightful as the National team has several options to choose from. I for one believe that no team can afford to ignore a leg spinner when the options are available. Of course, Amit Mishra has been with Team India for a while now but he had to bide his time before getting opportunities.

The memories of this very exciting IPL edition will linger for a while. Sunil Gavaskar will be a very pleased man as the IPL has lived up to his expectations.